fifty shades of meh

I did it, I fell for the hype.

It is still beyond my comprehension how anyone could write a book targeted at precisely my demographic and title it “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Puleeeze. (I know, I know, it’s not referring to hair, on head or otherwise.)

Today even Amazon (hisssss) tried to get me to buy it, which was the last straw—and they were so spot on with their other picks!

I confess, I bought it (before, and not from Amazon). The buzz around this was louder than a hive of angry bees—all the major news sites, lit sites, blogs. It went viral in a big way, copies flying off the shelves. Number one on the NYT Bestseller list for paperbacks. My local bookstore (I trusted them, sigh) was featured in a NY Times article and booksellers all over were upping their orders.

Only later, and once I’d already shelled out some cash for the book, did I read some of the reviews which reflected my impression of it, which is meh meh meh.*

I dropped it, just couldn’t read it, something that doesn’t happen often to me. Not because anything in it offended me, as I am hard to offend, but because it’s just a dreadful read, packed with thrusts and moans and murmurs and “oh baby’s.” It reminded me of the time my friend and I wandered into a movie theatre in Spain only to find out that the film was not about what we thought (something innocent and pure, no doubt) but rather one that attracted a bunch of creepy old men who smelled like Ducados and cognac (eek, just thinking of it makes me wince). Cheap porn is one thing, cheap Spanish porn in those days was a thousand times worse.

Truly I’m not one to criticize another’s writing, but I feel a bit betrayed, offended, taken, as though somehow the attention to this novel was based not on the novel itself but on some marketing scheme, a conspiracy, or some other dark thing meant to insult my intelligence and tease the money from my pocket. I’m cynical, I know, but honestly I just don’t get it…the buzz, the hype, the press.

You want to read something? Read Carrie’s Story by Molly Weatherfield, or go back a bit and read Anne Rice’s “Beauty” series, something by Gaitskill or Diski or (yes, I admit, my reading in this genre is a bit outdated, but still).

/end rant

*Clearly I will never be hired as a book reviewer…


16 thoughts on “fifty shades of meh

    1. Oh I don’t know, just my opinion. For every work there is someone who thinks it’s brilliant, so tastes vary. Something tells me, though, that your keen eye for words would make you have a similar reaction to mine.

      1. I completely trust your judgement, my friend. Not a question in my mind that its not for me. Thanks for doing the dirty work…I’ll try to return the favor soon:)

  1. I have been sticking to my book list as I compile it from recommendations (to which I will add some of yours) and had not heard of this book. Eventually I would have heard of it and I appreciate you for warning me off. I think you are an excellent book reviewer. I’m sure I wouldn’t have finished it either.

    1. Thanks, Carol. I usually only talk about books that I enjoyed, so this was a departure for me. Clearly there is an enthusiastic audience for this book so maybe I should just shush up. Today I got my daily goodreads quote, and in Albee’s words “What I mean by an educated taste is someone who has the same tastes that I have.” It’s a wonderful world, isn’t it? 🙂

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  3. All the more reason you should be a book reviewer . . . I have no interest in this one, and your thoughts confirm why. There’s another book, though, that bears an oddly similar title and sounds wonderful. Take a peek at ‘Between Shades of Gray.’

  4. I almost always have a ‘meh’ response to books and end up putting them down…maybe I am too impatient but I also feel cheated when a book is vaunted as being the next huge thing and really it’s just another repackaged version of the same old formula. With critics (who’ve been bought off) telling the world how amazing it is. The only way to get honest opinions on books seems to be by readers’ reviews. Bring ’em on, even if they are negative – it saves us time not reading them!

    1. Maybe that’s what has me so upset about 50 Shades, the astronomical reader support… 20 million mark in sales reported just today.

      I do like reader’s reviews and often consult them…but in this case I’m confused how that many people found the book worth reading when I found it mediocre at best, and certainly not deserving of such buzz…

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